Physics Examination Syllabus

The syllabus is intended as a guide and general indication to the breadth of the topics that may appear in the examination questions.

It is not a teaching plan and the bullet points do not relates to equal amounts of study time. The syllabus should be studies to a depth sufficient to allow the learning objectives in the Physics module to be achieved.

Principles of medical diagnostic imaging

  • Projection (planar) and tomographic images
  • Analogue and digital images
  • Structure of digital images
  • Digital image processing, fusion, transmission and storage
  • Display and viewing of analogue and digital images
  • Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS)
  • Quality Assurance

Common themes for imaging modalities

  • Image formation
  • Image quality – contrast, noise, contrast resolution and spatial resolution
  • Contrast Agents
  • Image processing and analysis
  • Equipment performance measurement, tests objects and quality control
  • Image artefacts
  • Hazards, risks and safety

Matter and radiation

  • Structure of Matter, the atom and the nucleus
  • Nature and properties of charged particles and electromagnetic radiation
  • Interaction of electrons with matter
  • Production of x rays
  • Interaction of h high energy photons with matter
  • Filtration of x-ray beams
  • Electron energy in solids
  • Luminescence

Ionising radiation dose

  • Absorbed dose and kinetic energy released to matter
  • Effects of ionising radiation on living tissue
  • Equivalent dose and effective dose
  • Radiation risk
  • Population dose from natural and artificial sources

Radiography with x-rays

  • Construction, function and operation of compute and digital radiographic systems
  • X ray tube and x-ray beam
  • Image receptors for computed and digital radiography
  • Scatter rejection
  • Contrast media – iodine, barium and air
  • Dual energy radiography
  • Film screen radiography
  • Mammography
  • Radiographic tomography and tomosynthesis

Fluoroscopy with x-rays

  • Construction, function and operation of a fluoroscopy system
  • Image receptor – image intensifier and flat panel detector
  • Scatter rejection
  • Automatic brightness control
  • Image digitisation
  • Angiography with contrast media, including digital subtraction techniques

Safety in radiography and fluoroscopy with x-rays

  • Radiation detectors and dose meter
  • Measurement of absorbed dose and dose rate in air
  • Estimation of patient absorbed dose
  • Typical dose-area products, entrance surface doses and effective doses in radiography and fluoroscopy
  • Factors affecting radiation dose
  • Time, distance and shielding for dose reduction
  • Children and pregnant patients
  • Estimation and control of radiation dose to staff and members of the public
  • Operational dose quantities
  • Personal dosimetry
  • Pregnant staff

Radioactivity

  • Nuclear Stability
  • Mechanisms of radioactive transformation
  • Nuclear energy states and gamma emission
  • Activity and radioactive decay
  • Natural radioactivity
  • Artificial radionuclides and their production
  • Radiopharm aceuticals and their production

Planar radionuclide imaging

  • Construction, function and operation of a digital gamma camera
  • Imaging collimators
  • Image receptor – scintillation detector
  • Scatter rejection
  • Static, whole-body, dynamic and gated imaging

Safety in planar radionuclide imaging

  • Activity measurement with radionuclide calibrator
  • Estimation of patient absorbed dose
  • Typical activities and effective doses
  • Factors affecting radiation dose
  • Time, distance and shielding for dose reduction
  • Children and conception, pregnancy and breast-feeding in patients
  • Estimation and control of radiation dose to staff and members of the public
  • Pregnant staff
  • Contamination and environmental dose rate monitoring
  • Storage, handling and transportation of radioactive substances
  • Storage and disposal of radioactive waste

UK framework for ionising radiation protection

  • Hierarchy of recommendations, legislation and guidance
  • Justification, optimisation and dose limitation
  • Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999 and Approved Code of Practice
  • Risk assessment, restriction of exposure and dose monitorin
  • Radiation Protection Adviser and Radiation Protection Supervisor
  • Local Rules and work procedures
  • Designation of working areas and classification of workers
  • Dose limits and dose constraints
  • Comforters and carers
  • Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000, Notes on Good Practice and 2006 amendment
  • Duty holders and their training and responsibilities
  • Employer’s procedures
  • Diagnostic reference levels
  • Exposures for research, health screening and medico-legal purposes
  • Medicines (Administration of Radioactive Substances) Regulations 1978 and 1995 and 2006 amendments
  • Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee and Notes for Guidance
  • Radioactive Substances Act 1993
  • Registration to hold radioactive substances
  • Authorisation to sore and dispose of radioactive waste
  • Medical and Dental Guidance notes
  • Notification and reporting of radiation incidents

Tomographic reconstruction

  • Angular and linear sampling of projection data
  • Iterative reconstruction

X-ray computed tomography

  • Construction, function and operation of a CT scanner
  • Helical and multi-slice scanners
  • Image reconstruction
  • CT angiography, CT fluoroscopy and gated imaging
  • Radiation dose to patients, staff and the public
  • Radiation safety and factors affecting radiation dose

Single Photon emission computed tomography

  • Construction, function and operation of a rotating multi-head gamma camera
  • Image reconstruction
  • SPECT/CT
  • Radiation safety and factors affecting radiation dose
  • Typical activities and effective doses to patients, staff and the public

Positron emission tomography

  • Construction, function and operation of a multi-detector ring system
  • 2D and 3D acquisition
  • Image reconstruction
  • PET/CT
  • Radiation safety and factors affecting radiation dose
  • Typical activities and effective doses to patients, staff and the public

Nuclear magnetic resonance

  • Nuclear spin angular momentum and nuclear magnetic moment
  • Bulk magnetisation and the effect of magnetic field strength
  • Precession in a magnetic field and the Larmor equation
  • Resonance with radiofrequency pulses
  • Relaxation mechanisms and relaxation times
  • Free induction decay signal

Magnetic resonance imaging

  • Construction, function and operation of a superconducting MRI scanner
  • Permanent and resistive magnets
  • Radiofrequency receiver coils
  • Spin-echo pulse sequence
  • Spatial localisation of the signal
  • K-space, image acquisition and image reconstruction
  • Multi-echo, fast spin-echo and single shot techniques
  • Gradient echo imaging – basic spoiled and non-spoiled techniques
  • Tissue suppression methods – short TI inversion recovery (STIR), fluid attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) and fat saturation
  • Basic principles of diffusion techniques
  • Standard gadolinium extracellular space contrast agents
  • MR angiography
  • Spatial misregistration, chemical shift, susceptibility, motion, flow and other artefacts

Safety in magnetic resonance imaging

  • Static magnetic field – projectiles, induced voltage, implants
  • Fringe field and controlled areas
  • Time-varying gradient fields – eddy currents, stimulation, implanted devices, acoustic noise
  • Radiofrequency fields – specific absorption rate, heating
  • Safety of patients, staff and members of the public
  • Pregnant patients
  • Shielding and imaging room design
  • Safety Guidelines for Magnetic Resonance Imaging Equipment in Clinical Use

Physics of ultrasound

  • Nature and properties of ultrasound
  • Propagation and interaction of ultrasound in matter
  • Scattering of ultrasound waves
  • Piezoelectric effect
  • Design and construction of ultrasound transducers
  • Continuous and pulsed wave ultrasound
  • Beam shape from a single transducer and an annular array
  • The Doppler effect

Ultrasound imaging

  • A-mode and B-mode imagin
  • Time-gain compensation
  • Construction, function and operation of a real-time B-mode scanner
  • Image acquisition and reconstruction
  • M-mode
  • Microbubble and particle suspension contrast agents
  • Harmonic imaging
  • Measurement of flow with continuous and pulsed Doppler ultrasoun
  • Duplex scanner
  • Colour-flow and power Doppler imaging

Safety in ultrasound imaging

  • Physical effects – heating, streaming, cavitation and mechanical damage
  • Intensity and energy limits
  • Thermal and mechanical indices
  • Measurement of power output
  • Safety of patients, staff and members of the publi
  • Safety guidance

ASSESSMENT

  1. The examination for the Physics module comprises a single paper of 40 multiple choice questions (MCQs) and is of two hours in duration.
  2. The examination is held at five UK venues (Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, London and Manchester) and three non-UK venues (Dublin, Hong Kong and Singapore
  3. The standard for success is determined at each sitting of the examination based on the difficulty of the questions used and so may vary between sittings.
  4. Further details about the examination can be found in the “Guidance Notes for Candidates”, which are published on the College’s website (www.rcr.ac.uk) and sent to all candidates when their application is accepted.
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